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South Africa's Zuma Resigns, Ramaphosa Voted In


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. February 15, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA South Africa's Zuma Resigns, Ramaphosa Voted In The South African parliament elected Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as president following the resignation of his one-time ally Jacob Zuma, bringing to a close days of tense negotiations between scandal-plagued Zuma and top officials in the ruling party. Top leadership in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) recalled Zuma earlier this week, telling him to resign or face a no-confidence vote (BBC). The vote to install Ramaphosa, elected as ANC leader in December, was largely symbolic since the party holds a majority in parliament (Guardian). Zuma, an anti-apartheid activist jailed alongside Nelson Mandela (NYT), led the country for nine years through economic decline and now faces potential prosecution for hundreds of corruption charges. Ramaphosa is expected to be sworn in later today (SABC). ANALYSIS "Ramaphosa has to think beyond the Zuma years and put an end to this governance by hysteria, because if he doesn't, he will be the biggest victim of the current chaos," Khaya Sithole writes for the Mail and Guardian. "Zuma had been able to hang on for almost a decade in the face of growing unpopularity—he survived eight no-confidence votes—by establishing effective patronage networks among party activists," writes CFR's John Campbell. "[Zuma's] departure will be his main legacy. It will set an important limit on the undue exercise of presidential power," Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh said in an interview with Al Jazeera. Event: U.S. Rep. Adam B. Schiff at CFR Schiff discusses the Russia probe and U.S. national security. Watch Friday at 8:30 a.m. EST.   PACIFIC RIM Oxfam Asia Director Aware of Earlier Sex Abuse Cases The Asia regional director for the charity Oxfam said she was aware of sexual abuses cases (BBC) involving Oxfam staff in Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Philippines before she assumed her role two years ago. She said recent outcry over sexual abuse charges against staff in Haiti has "taught us we need to do a lot more" to resolve the issue. PHILIPPINES: The Philippines will repatriate the body of a Filipina worker (WSJ) found dead in her employer's home in Kuwait. The country has banned its citizens from working in the Gulf nation and offered free travel for returnees. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Afghan Taliban Publishes Open Letter to Americans The Afghan Taliban has issued a letter addressed to the American people and U.S. Congress calling for dialogue to end the seventeen-year war (VOA) in Afghanistan. The militant group said the United States has lost thousands of its citizens and spent billions of dollars installing a politically fractious and corrupt ruling class in the country. MALDIVES: Tourists have canceled hundreds of hotel reservations (Reuters) in the Maldives since the country declared a state of emergency last week amid political unrest, serving a blow to an industry that accounts for a third of the nation's gross domestic product (GDP). MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Syrian Civilians Killed on 'Horrific' Scale, UN Envoy Says The UN special envoy to the Syrian conflict told the Security Council on Wednesday that reports indicate more than a thousand civilians in the country were killed in the first week of February alone (Al Jazeera), and said now is "as violent and worrying" a time as any in his four years as envoy. CFR's Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, in an interview on PBS Newshour, says the war over territory in Syria is ramping up to a new phase. IRAN: Some ninety currency traders have been arrested in Tehran for attempting to "disrupt the market," according to police, as the Iranian rial reached a record low (RFE/RL) this week. The currency has lost roughly a quarter of its value in the last six months. Vali Nasr writes in Foreign Affairs that Iran has an advantage in the turbulent Middle East. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Ethiopian Leader Announces Surprise Resignation Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in power since 2012, has announced his resignation in a televised address (BBC), saying his departure is necessary to carry out reforms that will "lead to sustainable peace and democracy." His resignation comes amid deadly anti-government protests in the country's Oromia and Amhara regions. ZIMBABWE: Former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a longtime opponent of ousted President Robert Mugabe, died in South Africa (BBC) after a battle with colon cancer. EUROPE Russian Security Staff Killed in Blast in Syria Fifteen Russian employees of a private security firm were killed in an explosion at an arms storage facility (AFP) in Syria's Deir ez-Zor, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The monitoring group said the company was there to protect oil and gas fields controlled by the Syrian government. In Foreign Affairs, Dmitri Trenin discusses Russian President Vladimir Putin's endgame in Syria. EU: GDP in the European Union grew 2.5 percent last year (BBC), the bloc's fastest pace since 2007. AMERICAS Mexico Says Pena Nieto–Trump Meeting to Come The Mexican and U.S. governments are organizing a meeting (FT) between President Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. President Donald J. Trump for sometime in the coming weeks. The announcement came after Mexico's foreign minister met with senior U.S. administration officials at the White House on Wednesday. VENEZUELA: President Nicolas Maduro said the country's Miami consulate, closed since 2012, will reopen (Miami Herald) so citizens living abroad can vote in an April 22 presidential election. UNITED STATES Florida School Shooting Kills Seventeen A teenager with a semiautomatic rifle opened fire at his former high school (NYT) near Miami on Wednesday, killing seventeen people. The massacre is the country's seventh school shooting (VOA) so far this year. University of Pennsylvania physicians who examined U.S. diplomats who reported mysterious ailments while serving in Cuba (WaPo) found that they suffered "sustained injury to widespread brain networks," though the doctors could not determine the cause of such injury.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: February 15, 2018 at 11:03PM